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Curds and whey

Curds and whey is a term that is most commonly remembered from a nursery rhyme that has been recited by parents and children for four hundred years. We’ll look at what curds and whey are, today’s more common term for curds and whey, and some examples of the phrase curds and whey used in a sentence.

Curds and whey are a product of cheese-making. When rennet, an enzyme derived from a newborn ruminant is added to milk, the milk curdles. These solid, curdled lumps are the curds. The whey is the liquid byproduct of the curdling process. Most people first heard the term curds and whey in the nursery rhyme, Little Miss Muffet, a nursery rhyme that dates back to the sixteenth century, though it was first published in 1805. In the rhyme, Miss Muffet sits on a tuffet eating her curds and whey. Today’s cottage cheese is similar to the curds and whey that would have been popular four hundred years ago when the nursery rhyme was written. However, cottage cheese is washed, salted and well-drained, and many believe that curds and whey would have contained more whey than cottage cheese contains. The method of curdling curds and whey is not known, an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice may be used to curdle milk, which affects the taste.


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Examples

The enzymes in the lining of the pouch and the intense heat from the sun separated the milk into curds and whey. (The Las Vegas Sun)

That whole time he’s turning the milk into curds and whey, and depending on which cheese he’s making that day the curd will differ. (The Post Register)

You get this nasty solid mass floating in disgusting yellowish liquid: curds and whey. (The Aurora Sentinel)

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